New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
The 3D printers are capable of producing three-dimensional solid objects drawn in 3D software through an additive process, wherein the feedstock is applied layer by layer to form the three-dimensional object. The drones are instruments controlled from a distance by electronic and computational mechanisms. Many of them seem aero-modeling toys or even remote control helicopters, but the difference is in the technology employed, usually much more complex than mere toys. Its utilities go beyond conventional, they can be used either for leisure, commercial or military work. This paper presents the use of 3D printers to design, build, test, and fly a quadcopter drone. Through this hands-on project, the students were trained in two new and emerging manufacturing technologies: 3D printing and rapid prototyping as well as drone technology.
Two software packages, 123D Design and MeshMixer, were used to design the body, arms, and feet of the drone. Two different materials were used: ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), a common thermoplastic polymer, very rigid and light, with a good balance of strength and flexibility; and PLA (Polylactic acid), a biodegradable thermoplastic polyester, more efficient in certain types of molding than the ABS, because it tends to deform less after the application and releases less smoke upon reaching its melting point.
The drone parts were printed using two 3D printers: The MakerBot Replicator 2X was used to print the arms using ABS material and the Creator Pro printed the body and feet using PLA material. The printed parts were also tested for dimensional accuracy and surface roughness. The electronic parts consisted of one flight control, four electronic speed controllers, one transmitter, one receiver, four motors, four propellers, and one GPS. The 3D printed parts and the electronic components were assembled to make the prototype of the quadcopter drone. Some of the difficulties encountered include assembly errors, sizing issues, and software incompatibility. Flight tests were performed and the errors identified and corrected. The results of the flying quadcopter drone designed, built, and tested are presented and discussed.
Radharamanan, R. (2016, June), Use of 3-D Printers to Design, Build, and Test a Quadcopter Drone Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27111
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